As many of you know the last 3+ years our family has been on a Mission to Spread Awareness and Raise Money for Research for a Disease called Type One Diabetes, a disease my Niece Michelle has lived with since she was 14 years old. There are still far too many kids and young adults that pass away each year because most people don’t know the symptoms and it is often dismissed as the Flu or Strep Throat. We are blessed to live in Emporia and have the support of so many great organizations and been involved in so many fundraisers. Being a part of the Emporia St. Patricks Day Parade, the Tour de Lyon County bike ride, speaking at local service clubs and this year being a part of Match Day through the Emporia Community Foundation has been very Special.
This Mission has also evolved into trying to help children and families in a positive way and give them hope that people really do care and are willing champion their cause. I really don’t watch the news much but when I do I see so much Hate in the world against each other in politics and religion and in so many other ways, I Try and stay focused on the things I can do to make a difference, One of my favorite things is to Speak at School Assemblies, many in Kansas, but also in other states as I have traveled around our country . I always talk to the kids about Changing the World from the inside out, doing it any other way sure hasn’t worked, We talk about trying and making a positive difference every day at school, at home, in sports, and other activities they are involved in. I challenge them to find a Cause and Make a Real Difference in the World. I always conclude my presentation with this story.
3 years ago I was in Burlington Vermont for a JDRF bike ride, I had some free time so I was driving around the area, I was on a busy street and traffic was backed up at a red light, As I was stopped I looked to my right and saw a young man in a wheel chair in front of a church and a lady was setting next to him in a chair, they both were looking right at me and from the position of his body in the chair I could tell he was facing some serious challenges. As the light turned and I drove off I smiled and waved at them, she waved back and smiled, but it was a very sad smile, as I went up the road something inside of me told me to go back, so I turned at the next opportunity and took a backstreet and parked behind the church, I walked up to them and introduced myself and told them why I was in town, The lady who was his caregiver told me this young man was born with a severe muscle disorder and would never be able to walk or talk and required 24 hour care. But he loved to sit outside and watch traffic go by and he must have loved your truck because he made a loud noise and stared right at you. I asked them what they enjoyed and what I could do to make their day better, she told me that when his dad came to pick him up at night on Special Occasions the 3 of them loved to go out to eat together at different places and she looked at the Bright Yellow Team Schnak shirt I was wearing and said and He Loves Bright Colored shirts, so I went back to my truck, almost running with a special feeling inside. I walked back to them and handed her 40 dollars and said you all please go to your favorite restaurant tonight and here is a shirt for him to wear. She held up the shirt and said look what this man just gave you. For the first time this young man kind of looked up at me and a hint of a smile came across his face, He reached up with what had been a clenched fist and opened it up, I put my hand in his and he squeezed it very hard, I told them both I loved them and gave them a hug and my card and said please let me know if I can ever do anything else for you both again. As I turned to walk away she said You Already Have, I turned back and she said we have been setting out here for over a year and you’re the first person that has ever cared enough to stop and check on us and that means the world to us both and I know it will to his father. The Lesson in this story is this. When your Moment comes and your Moment will Come. Just don’t Miss it, Just don’t Miss it.
I'm Kent Schnakenberg and that is something to think about.